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How Are You Monetizing Your Blog?


For every successful and profitable blog out there, there are hundreds if not thousands of struggling blogs lost in the shadows. This is usually due to poor blog management, but also a loss of direction on how a blog should be monetized.

There are many different ways that you can make money with a blog, but it’s important to understand each before going forward. Let’s outline three different methods of for generating revenue on a blog, helping you choose which option is best for you.

On Site Advertising
One of the most popular ways to make money with a blog is to serve banner advertising on your site. Before placing any advertising on your site, you should have at least a few thousand visitors per month. You also need to consider the amount you will charge per month for each banner spot. A business related blog about internet marketing should be charging more money per ad spot versus a mommy blogger than writes about her children and daily experiences. In the end it really comes down to your advertisers, how much they will pay and the return on investment they are seeing. Make sure to always keep your advertisements relevant to your blog audience.

Consulting, Products & Business Growth
While a lot of blogs like to focus on selling direct advertising on their blogs, others like to keep all of the potential business for themselves. When people visit a blog with a lot of advertisements on them, they are sometimes turned off by all of the ads or distractions. One way to make money off your blog readers, is to offer consulting or selling your own products. Not only does your blog stay clean of third party advertisements, and clean only with your own content, but what you are offering to your readers is actually a product of your own and more personable.

Affiliate Marketing Possibilities
Whether you like selling ad space on your blog, or building your own products or offering consulting… it’s all about finding the right mix for your blog and your audience. If you have a blog that talks about books or individual products, you can use the Amazon.com associates program. You would then earn a commission on every sale generated from your blog. This is referred to as affiliate marketing, which is another revenue source outside of direct ad sales and consulting/product sales. This same practice can be found for almost any product or service online.. The more relevant your blog advertising is to your audience, the better results you will see. Using affiliate marketing on your blog can be very unobtrusive, as you would only link to specific products and services that you were planning on blogging about in the first place.

Mix up your advertising efforts to see what works best, while providing quality content and resources. Don’t feel limited to just one revenue source, but don’t get too carried away at the same time. Make sure that your blog has a custom theme that is built to cater to both your advertisers and readers. Without the perfect mix and attention to both your readers and advertisers, your blog will have a hard time succeeding.

With all of that said… how are you monetizing your blog and it’s audience?

Time Really is Money (but so is love)


“Don’t forget to pay yourself.”

One of the best piece of advice I ever received as a blogger is that along with paying affiliates, editors, designers, and anyone else who provide services to make your blog possible, you have to pay yourself. You deserve to be compensated for your time – and only after that can you truly calculate profits.

The “time is money” argument is nothing new, but sometimes it is one we forget when we’re waist-deep, slogging through the work being done on out own projects. How many hours do you spend blogging? And promoting? And on social media? And writing ebooks? And working on design or doing updates? And traveling to conferences? And whatever else is on your massive list of “things-to-do-to-become-an-a-list-blogger”?

And, most importantly, what kind of hourly wage do you deserve? If you were paying someone else to do the job that you do, what would you pay them per hour. This is, at minimum, what you should pay yourself.

That’s not to say that we can all do that, at least not yet. But when you measure the success of your monetization efforts, it is something to take into consideration. If you spend 10 hours a week on your blog and make about $2000 per month, you’re actually doing much better than someone who spends 40 hours a week blogging and makes $4000 per month. When comparing statistics, it’s relative. Remember that, no matter whose figures you’re reviewing or how you’re comparing your blog to someone else’s blog.

Something else that I believe is important to remember – money isn’t everything.

When I first started working as a freelancer (blogging and otherwise), I was working…gosh, probably 60 – 70 hours a week, maybe even more some weeks. I was doing it just to make ends meet, and I lived in a relatively inexpensive part of the United States. My boyfriend at the time (who is coincidentally also my accountant and is still one of my best friends) was extremely supportive, but also didn’t really understand the choice. I was killing myself to make less than $30,000 a year. I’m not especially good at math, but I wasn’t even making minimum wage once you crunched the numbers. Why would I do that, plus have all the stress that goes along with not having steady income, not having benefits, being responsible for my own business, etc.? Why not just work at Burger King at that point?

Because I loved it.

Granted, I knew that working hard would pay off in the end (and it has, or at least, it is starting to), so I don’t think you should kill yourself working if you aren’t ever going to get anywhere, no matter how much you love your blog. Really, though, I loved what I was doing and I really believed in the work. He supported that, even if his idea of what a career should be is different. It’s time I’ll never get back, but just as time is money, love is money too.

How much would you pay, for example, to go to the movies for two hours? Most of us will shell out $10 for a ticket. Sometimes we like the movie, and sometimes we do not. That means we’re paying $5 per hour for the chance to be happy and entertained.

If you apply that same logic to your work as a blogger, it snaps into sharper perspective I think. When I started, maybe I was only making $7 an hour, but I was also happy, which was worth another $5 an hour for me, using the movie ticket logic – so I was really making $12 an hour, which starts to not look quite so bad. Of course, you have to pay your bills. You can’t give metaphorical “happiness money” to your landlord. But if you can make ends meet, sometimes its okay to financially struggle through the foundation years if you’re building something you love.

I guess, my overall message in this post is this: Be practical, but also follow your heart. Find that happy medium between time as money and love as money, and work toward both types of currency as you’re building your blog.

Are Free Ebooks A Waste of Time?


It seems like every blog these days has a free ebook. To get said ebook, you have to sign up for a mailing list in most cases, though some blogs are offering them with no strings attached. At one time, the free ebook was certainly a way to draw people in, enticing them to get on your list or become a member of your community. But with so many free ebooks out there, does it still make sense for you to offer one to your readers? Or is creating this kind of content just a waste of time?

Perceived Benefits of Free Ebooks

People are attracted to the word free. At least, that’s what bloggers count on when they offer a free ebook. Even if your name doesn’t get stuck on a mailing list of some sort in order to get the ebook, bloggers wouldn’t create them if there wasn’t some sort of benefit, right? You may notice links throughout the ebook, and most ebooks have a strong call to action at the end so that you do sign up, even if it wasn’t originally required, or (if you’re already on a mailing list) you buy something. Free ebooks can also help build your brand, because the hope is that someone will download the ebook (since it’s free) and get to know you, even if they would have more quickly clicked the back button on your website after getting the information they needed.

There are other benefits as well, but I see those as the big three: collecting names for a mailing list, getting people to do something you want, and building your brand.

There’s a reason I headed this part of the post “Perceived Benefits,” thought. While these might be the benefits that you hope you get from a free ebook, are you really going to get them? For some bloggers, the answer is no. Why?

  • Many people will sign up for a mailing list to get something for free and then immediately unsubscribe or never actually read your emails because they aren’t really interested.
  • People who download something for free often ignore a call to action at the end, especially if it is trying to sell something. Some even get angry that you aren’t providing more stuff for free.
  • Free ebooks can hurt your brand if they aren’t high quality, but if they are high-quality, you might not be able to afford giving it away.

Of course, this isn’t the case all of the time…but are you really getting the most out of the time you spent creating a free ebook? Maybe. But maybe not. Unfortunately, most bloggers don’t really think about it. They create free ebooks because “it’s what you’re supposed to do.”

“Free Ebooks Work!”

Whenever I bring up the free ebook debate, there’s always at least one person who points to the fact that his/her free ebook is “working.” Because you wrote a free ebook, you’re getting people to sign up for your mailing list or you’re making sales. But how do you know?

Because you have the numbers to prove it?

Maybe, but few bloggers actually do have proof, they just have flawed stats. Just because your mailing list is getting 100 new sign-ups a month doesn’t mean that your free ebook is the reason. Here’s a good example: I used to offer a free ebook on After Graduation for new mailing list subscribers. Then, I got curious and added a sign-up box at the end of each post which didn’t mention the ebook, but rather just said something like “keep in touch with me.” When comparing the numbers after three months, the sign-up box featuring the free ebook performed only slightly better than the sign-up box that did not, and this might have been attributed to other things, such as placement on the site and word choice.

Or, here’s something else to consider: are the people who sign-up because they want the free ebook really high-quality mailing list subscribers (i.e., they’ll buy something from you in the future). The people who are truly interested in your products might sign up even if you don’t offer something for free. If your free ebook brings 100 new people to your mailing list, but not a single one of those new people actually buys anything from you, ever, does it really matter?

My point is this: before you claim that your free ebook works, take some time to actually think about the stats you’re tracking. Even if your numbers go up, that doesn’t mean your ebook was worthwhile.

Ebook Fatigue

I’m not totally against free ebooks, despite what I’ve written in this post. I think they can be useful for some people. Actually, when a new blogger asks me for advice, a lot of the time, I recommend that they consider creating a free ebook to build their list. I think what is important to remember here is that your audience is probably not the same as the audience of some of the blogs you read.

In other words, if you’re a blogger, you probably read a number of “make money online” type of blogs – i.e, blogs about blogging, social media, affiliate sales, and so forth. Tons of bloggers in this niche have free ebooks. We’re all kind of ebooked-out. But keep in mind that your readers probably don’t see free ebooks offered every day.

For example, my mother would never get online to read this blog or Problogger or Social Media Examiner or any of the other blogs many of us read daily. What she might read online is a blog about sewing (my mom is a crafter). She would probably search for something on Google, say “sewing patterns,” and a blog might pop up. When she goes to that blog, if there’s something available for free (and she likes the blog so far), my mom is likely to sign up. She isn’t getting attacked on every site she visits with offers of free ebooks because most of her time online is spent checking her email or visiting non-blog websites.

It is sometimes hard to remember that our often audience has a much different experience than we do. So a free ebook might be right for you, even if you’re personally so sick of seeing free ebooks that it makes you want to puke. So, what’s the answer to the question I posed in the title? Are free ebooks a waste of time? They can be. It’s a question you have to ask yourself, and not everyone’s answer is going to be the same.

My Cat, The Monetization Master


My cat, Godiva, is a monetization master.

Kitty sez: "I haz no free ebook to dowload. You pet me nao?"

Ok, so she doesn’t actually make money, but only because that isn’t her goal. Her goal is attention and food – and she gets both of those things in abundance. If you have a cat, I bet yours does too. We should all count our lucky stars that cats can’t type, or they’d be the top bloggers in every niche, I’m sure of it.

So what does my cat do that we can implement on our blogs?

  • She is consistent.

Godiva wants her breakfast every morning as soon as I step out of my bedroom. If I’m not home, she meows outside of my roommate’s door until he wakes up and feeds her (since he usually sleeps later than I do). She gets freaked out by changes in the house, like moving furniture, and she has certain spots where she likes to sleep. And because she’s in a routine, so am I. The first thing I do when I wake up is trudge out to the kitche and put food in her dish.

Are you as consistent as my cat? You don’t have to blog every day. You don’t even have to blog on a schedule. But if you’re super sporadic about your posts, sometimes posting every single day and other times going weeks between posts, it is unsettling to readers. This goes beyond post frequency. Do you use Twitter and Facebook consistently? Do you email your list consistently? If you want your readers to consistently pull out their wallets, you have to be at least somewhat consistent as well.

  • She is a friend no matter what.

Even if I stopped petting my cat, she would always be there for me with some kitty love. She doesn’t understand the concept of “paying” for something. Pets have this uncanny sense when we need them, and if I’m having a crappy day, Godiva is my shadow. She wants to make me feel better, whether I gave her a treat that morning or not.

As bloggers, we sometimes get caught up in only caring about our readers if they are going to give us money in some way. Yes, you have to make a living, and you might even be blogging solely for money, but if your readers get the sense that you’re only being nice to them because you want something from them, you’re not really going to build much loyalty. Sure, they might buy something if they find it useful, but they’re less likely to rave about you to their friends, trust you for projects they’re unsure about, or otherwise offer support. Be useful and friendly without expecting anything in return, because that’s how you’ll actually end up seeing the most return. Look at the big picture.

  • She gives me options.

Godiva isn’t good at taking no for an answer. When she wants attention, she wants attention. Now. But she’s willing to give me options. If I shoo her away when she tries to sit on my lap, she rubs against my foot. If I move her off of my stomach when she tries to snuggle as I’m going to sleep, she curls up beside my head. If she wants to play but I don’t grab her peacock feathers (her favorite toy, which I have to keep on the high shelf or she’ll tear them apart), she’ll bring me one of her mouse toys.

Do you give your readers options? Not everyone can afford to buy your $500 product. Do you have a “light” option that’s a little less expensive? Or provide a payment plan? If one of your products isn’t relevant to your readers, do you have another product that they might like? You don’t want to overload your readers with options, but give them a few choices so your products are as convenient as possible.

Do you have pets? What can they teach us about monetization?

30 Days to a Better Blog: Add Affiliate Links


30 Days to a Better Blog: Add Affiliate Links

Most bloggers have a group of ads along the edges of their website – in the header, sidebar, and footer. Perhaps they have other banners sprinkled throughout their content. But affiliate links embedded directly in your post can lead to a much larger percentage of click-thrus and add another monetization source. Just don’t overdo it! You want your readers to trust your blog, content, and links – so only add links that are applicable and trustworthy. And only one or two per post.

My personal favorite (broad) affiliate sites that I’ve used are:

When should you embed an affiliate link in your post? Any time you’re talking about a product, group of products, or service! Doing a book review? Add a link to Barnes & Noble. Talking about a product launch? Use an affiliate link. Discussing the merits of pedometers? Link to the pedometer page of Amazon. The opportunities are endless. Alli put together a list of the 8 Affiliates Selling in her 12 Days of Blogging series. Check it out!

Do you use affiliate links and how do they work for you?

How to Monetize the Content of your Blog in Speaking Engagements


… by Barry Moltz

Make New Things We love to write, but it’s time we learn to monetize our content. Many bloggers try to sell consulting services as a primary source of income. While this may work in the short term, it is difficult to make a lot of money billing by the hour. There is no leverage in consulting services when paid hourly. While many bloggers turn to selling products through their website, an overlooked path to monetizing content is speaking professionally.

Before picking up that big check, people need to have a reason to listen. Every blogger should articulate a strong brand and promise: For example:

  • What have you done?
  • With who (brands more famous than you)? What did they say about you?
  • What have you published?

The most effective place to get content for your speeches is from past blog posts and articles at other sites. Repurposing content from tweets to these articles or guests posts can also be effective. Videos with other ‘bigger named’ people also will extend your brand. Podcasting is now simple with free tools such as Blog Talk Radio. Most importantly, increase your reach by blogging about what is in the general news that day which revolves around your area of expertise.

If you want to be paid as a speaker, your web site needs to have the following:

  • One line brand on what you speak about.
  • What the audience will learn.
  • Video of you speaking.
  • Which type of businesses benefit most from your speeches.
  • Show your expert deliverables: your books, webinars, and ebooks.

Where do you start constructing a speech?

  • Find the two things you want your listeners to learn.
  • What are the 5-7 points you want to emphasize with stories, examples and action items?
  • What is the impactful opening and closing that the audience is sure to remember?

Don’t memorize, but learn the speech. Break it into 3 to 5 minutes modules that you can be comfortable learning. Practice, Practice, Practice Outloud!. Watch video of yourself giving the speech. This is the key un-magic of speaking. Don’t have the arrogance that you can just wing it on stage. Don’t get fooled by watching other professionals that make it look easy. The good people have practiced it hundreds of times.

How much should you be paid? Start small. Do it for free to get experience. Then, charge expenses and a small honorarium (Less than $500). Using these initial speaking engagements as your base will propel you to command four to five figure fees.

Tell us how you made the leap!

Barry Moltz has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. He helps small businesses get unstuck and get back their long forgotten potential. Follow him at www.barrymoltz.com or on Twitter @barrymoltz.

12 Days of Blogging 2010: 3 Ebook Tips


A few days ago, I wrote 6 Launchers Launching as part of the 12 Days of Blogging 2010 – and that post was all about getting your product out there for the masses. For many bloggers, that first product is an ebook. It doesn’t matter how awesome the launch advice you read may be if you don’t know where to start when it comes to writing an ebook in the first place…which leads me to today’s post.

I’m a freelance writer before I’m a blogger, so I’ve bee writing ebooks for several years now for clients. I also have done two ebooks of my own at After Graduation (one free and one paid) and am currently working on a third. I love ebooks!

Before highlighting some awesome bloggers who have written posts about how to write ebooks, I wanted to give you my three best tips on the process, since I’ve done this before (multiple times actually):

1. Just do it. Because you can! Too many bloggers can overwhelmed by the thought of writing something so long, but instead of thinking about it as a 50-page ebook, think of it as a really long series of blog posts. Write your outline and then tackle each chapter. It really isn’t any harder than blogging.

2. If you’re not a designer, hire someone who is to format the book and design the cover and graphics. Having a professional-looking ebook makes a boatload of difference when it comes to sales.

3. Use plenty of links. Since an ebook will be read on a computer, notebook, or other such device, most viewers will be able to connect to the Internet. In print books, you want to stay away from too many links, especially if they’re long. In ebooks, they add a ton of value.

Ok, those are my three favorite ebook tips – what are yours? Check out the following three posts from some super smart bloggers and then comment below with your favorite ebook tip and/or a link to your own post about ebooks!

1. How to Write Your First Outrageously Awesome Ebook by Henri Junttila at Wake Up Cloud

If you’ve never attempted ebook writing before, this is a nuts and bolts guide to doing it! I agree with every bit of Henri’s advice, from the advice on how to choose a topic to the advice on how to design and covert the finished product. From the post:

Remember to keep it simple. What helps me get things done is that I don’t get caught up in worrying about stuff that I’m not good at. This doesn’t mean I don’t worry about it, because I do, but I keep going.

For example, when writing my first ebook, I knew that it wasn’t going to be perfect. I accepted it, and created it anyway. It turned out fine, and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, which just goes to show you that what you think is perfect, may not be what other people even want, or need.

Check out Wake Up Cloud for more great advice and follow Henri on Twitter @henrijunttila.

2. 101 Ways to Make Your e-Book Sexy by Logan Zanelli

Woah. I mean, woah. I think in compiling this 12 Days of Blogging series (with over 100 bloggers featured at this point), I’ve become slightly immune to awesome content. It’s sade, but true; I’ve read so much awesome stuff over the past few days that awesome I’m on awesome overload. Yet here’s a post that slaps me in the face with awesome. In fact, it’s a level above awesome. Whatever that level it called. ONE HUNDRED AND ONE tips. And I’ve read through them all – they’re all good tips, not crap that Logan used to boost the number. After you’re done writing, this is a post you need to read to get you ebook out the door and looking its best. From the post:

Well, now that the writing is done, you need to pull it all together in a nice layout and get it ready for distribution. But what’s the best way to do that? Is there any “tricks of the trade” when it comes to eBook design? How do you create an eBook layout that’s both appealing and easy to navigate all at the same time?

OK, first of all B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Repeat after me: “it’s going to be OK.”

There, feel better? Cool. Now on to the good stuff…

The good stuff is all at Logan’s blog. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter @LoganZanelli!

3. It’s Not The Products You Make, It’s The Lives You Change by Jonathan Wondrusch at By Bloggers

By Bloggers is pretty much a one-stop shop if you’re looking for advice on ebook creation. Not only do they give great advice on that site, but they also promote awesome ebooks from other bloggers. This post isn’t ebook exclusive – it is an important read for anyone, whether you’re creating an ebook, compiling a course, or even just blogging without a product in mind yet. It’s one of those posts that really has lit a fire under my digital tushie. Writes Jonathan:

As you’re creating your product, realize that it has a very different significance to you than it does for your audience. For you, your product is a gateway into a better future, where you have more cash, more attention or more readers in your life. For your readers, it might be a source of inspiration, truth and education, but they have no way of knowing that until they crack the pages; unless you give them one.

Do yourself a favor and check out the full post on By Bloggers and follow Jonathan on Twitter @bybloggers.

BONUS: Because I think you all need one more awesome post about ebooks, here’s a final blog post to check out: “How an eBook Becomes an eCourse” from Kelly Kingman (@stickyebooks) at Sticky eBooks. If you want to take your ebook to the next level, this post is a great place to start!

Ok, your turn – leave a comment with your best ebook tip or link to a post you wrote/read about ebooks!

Check out the rest of the 12 Days of Blogging:

12 Writers Writing
11 Tweeters Tweeting
10 Guests a-Posting
9 SEOers Optimizing
8 Affiliates Selling
7 Facebook Users Updating
6 Launchers Launching
5 Golden Rules
4 Podcasting Hosts
3 Ebook Tips
2 Ethics Debates
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (ebook coming soon!)

12 Days of Blogging 2010: 6 Launchers Launching


Earlier in the 12 Days of Blogging series, I gave you 8 Affiliates Selling – and while it is awesome to make money promoting products that your readers can use, it’s even better to promote your own products! Most bloggers start by launching some kind of informational product, like an ebook or video course, but you could also sell tangible products or even work with publisher to launch a print book.

So, today, I’m going to talk about launching. Or, more correctly, a bunch of really brilliant bloggers are going to talk about launching and I’m going to give up a little commentary while letting them shine.

Remember, if you’ve written a post about launching a product (or launching a website), leave a comment with your link!

1. 7 Things You MUST Do To Make Your Product Launch Easier by Dave Navarro at The Launch Coach

When it comes to launching Dave Navarro is pretty much a one-stop shop for all the information you need to know about launching a product. along with a ton of posts worth reading, he has four free workbooks available for download, as well as a paid ebook called How to Launch the **** Out of Your Ebook, which has gotten glowing reviews from Darren Rowse of Problogger, Michael Martine of Remarkablogger, and more. I chose this post to highlight because it’s a good place to start. From the post:

Sure, launching can lead to a pretty sweet spike in sales, but it isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Ask anyone who’s run a successful launch, and they’ll be sure to tell you “Damn, I’m glad that’s over.”  Again, the money is good, but it’s like running a marathon – you don’t come out the other end without being drenched in sweat.

But, just like a marathon, it isn’t impossible – as long as you put your “training time” in up front.

This post goes on to list the lessons he’s learned as a launcher. You can read more at The Launch Coach and follow Dave on Twitter @RockYourDay.

UPDATE: Since writing this post, there have been reports of people being unhappy with Dave’s business and personal choices, so do your research before hiring or working with him. I have personally never worked with Dave, nor do I know him personally, so I cannot speak about these matters.

2. How to Suck at Launching a Product by Adam Baker at Man Vs. Debt

I love this post because it makes me feel like my own failures are not so stupid. Launching a product is hard. Hard. Adam Baker’s post teaches readers about the mistakes he made – as well as some of the things he did right. It’s a post with a lot of meat, and totally worth reading if you intend to launch a product. From the post:

I’ve failed.

I set a big, perfectly attainable goal for my business.  I worked hard, but not smart.  And I failed.  I fell short.  I came up way short, actually.

Most of you know that two weeks ago I launched my second premium product, Sell Your Crap. I’ve talked a lot about it recently, so I won’t be going into specific details regarding the product again here.

What most of you don’t know (unless you are in my inner circle) was my goal for the launch. My goal was to sell 200 copies in the first two weeks.  I wanted to break $10,000 gross in that time frame. For some of you that may seem really high.  Others may think thats low.  That’s cool, but I will let you know that those number are completely reasonable.  Meaning not impossible, not automatic.  Reasonable.

Well, I failed.

To read more, head to Man Vs. Debt, and follow Baker on Twitter @ManVsDebt.

3. How to Launch When You’re Not Really Here by Elizabeth Potts Weinstein at Live Your Truth

Earlier this year, Elizabeth’s family went through a difficult time when her daughter had some serious medical problems. Since she didn’t have time to do a huge launch, but still wanted to make some money, EPW did a smaller launch – and this post gives her best tips on making such a launch successful. From the post:

Yesterday I finally got through 2 months of email. I’ve been contacting coaching clients to set up their calls. Delivering more content to Build Your Tribe. Writing new blog posts and making videos. Finishing up an ebook & putting it on sale.

And finally, next week (Aug 31 – Sept 2) I’m launching something – Live Your Truth on Video. (Because dude, this isn’t a non-profit.)

But since I don’t have the time or capacity to do the big huge launch, I’m having to be a bit more strategic about this one.

I highly recommend checking out the rest of Live Your Truth and connecting with Elizabeth on Twitter @ElizabethPW.

4. How I Write Sales Pages by Catherine Caine at Be Awesome Online

During BlogWorld 2010, I had the pleasure of meeting Catherine Caine from Be Awesome Online and her relatively new site Cash and Joy. In this post, she talks about something that super important to any product launch you do – writing the sales page. Everyone has their own special formula for sales pages, so after checking out Catherine’s post, check out a few other sales letters out there and then mash it all together to come up with your own perfect version. From Catherine’s post:

There are two layers to a sales page. Underneath is the structure, which is important – and dull.

On top is your voice, which is where things get awesome.

The structure matters in the sales page, and when you’re getting that to flow your writing will likely be dull.You’re ticking all the boxes.

Read more and show Catherine some love at Be Awesome Online and follow her on Twitter @CatherineCaine.

5. Etsy Success: Launching a Product Line by Danielle on Etsy’s The Storque

Like I mentioned before, not every product launch if an informational product like an ebook. This post focuses more on physical items, and although it is specific to selling on Etsy, it has some good advice for anyone interested in launching a product line. From the post:

I’ve seen many now very successful sellers launch a creative, cohesive product line and a full-time business all in the same go; it’s a great place to start. Composing a balanced line of work can get you thinking about target markets, your brand aesthetic, packaging and making a plan to get the press you deserve. I asked Etsy sellers for their top tips on creating a product line; let’s see what they came up with…

Check out more from the Etsy blog and follow the company on Twitter @etsy. You can also check out Danielle’s Etsy shop to support the author!

6. 7 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Business by Maren Kate at Escaping the 9 to 5

Maren was another person I got to meet at BlogWorld 2010, and my initial reaction upon checking out her site when I got home was, “Holy crap. How did I not know this existed?!?!” Maren writes about using virtual assistants, owning your own business, staying motivated to ditch the 9 to 5, and more – and I wanted to end today’s list with this post because it’s something every would-be blogger out there needs to read. If you’re going to start a blog with the hope of making money from it, your blog is a business. And starting a business is hard. Writes Maren:

Today Virtual Zeta is live! After months of hard work & determination my baby was finally born into the world wide web and I couldn’t be more excited, or scared!So today’s post is not just to announce Virtual Zeta, a site that will connect you with the perfect virtual assistant to fit your needs (guaranteed!), but also to help anyone out who wants to start a business by outlining the 7 things you should know beforehand that will save you a lot of headache & hopefully make your business a lot more profitable!

Head to Escaping the 9 to 5 for more career and business advice, and make sure to check out Maren on Twitter @MarenKate.

A huge thank you to all the bloggers who’ve written such great posts about launching! Remember, if you’ve covered this topic, leave your link in the comments section so we can all learn from you – and don’t forget to hit the like/retweet button to pass on the love for all of these awesome bloggers!

Check out the rest of the 12 Days of Blogging:

12 Writers Writing
11 Tweeters Tweeting
10 Guests a-Posting
9 SEOers Optimizing
8 Affiliates Selling
7 Facebook Users Updating
6 Launchers Launching
5 Golden Rules
4 Podcasting Hosts
3 Ebook Tips
2 Ethics Debates
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (ebook coming soon!)


12 Days of Blogging 2010: 8 Affiliates Selling


And we’re back with another day of the 12 Days of Blogging 2010! I know it’s a ton of information to digest, but I hope that you’ve found some new bloggers and learned a few new things along the way. Today, the topic is affiliate sales. You can be an affiliate for national companies (like Amazon), work with individuals who offer products to sale, or even launch your own products and offer an affiliate program for others. We’ll talk about that last one later when we get to 6 Launchers Launching; for today, let’s look at some awesome advice about making money being an affiliate for other people or companies.

Affiliate advice falls into two main categories: 1) advice for people who want to start or who run blogs specifically with the purpose of making money by promoting affiliate products and 2) advice for people who run a blogs and want to add affiliate links occasionally to add another stream of income.

The links I’ve chosen to highlight in this post cover both topics – hopefully you’ll find some useful blogs no matter what your affiliate goals.

1. A Rare Guide to Affiliate Marketing in 2877 Words – Part 1 by Jase at ZealingMoney.com

As the title says, this is just part one. If you’re brand new to affiliate marketing, I highly recommend the entire series, which starts with this post on what it is and goes on to talk about getting started, promoting your affiliate program, and tracking your efforts. In other words, it’s everything you need to get started. From the post:

The beauty of affiliate marketing is the fact that you don’t need even a penny to start making money. But, if you can invest some money, definitely your return will be multiplied several times.

Ok, just relax and take a deep breath. I promise you that I will give you the most important facts you need to know to be a successful affiliate. Even if you are already an affiliate marketer, this guide will be helpful to you also. Do you have the desire to see heavy checks coming to your bank account? Are you willing to make an effort to make it a reality? Then it is just a matter of time making it a reality.

You can read the rest of the post at ZealingMoney.com and follow the site on Twitter @zealingmoney.

2. Bras and Affiliate Marketing by Brent Coppieters at DotComSecrets.com

Brent Coppieters is the affiliate manager for DotComSecrets.com – so it makes sense that he would write some awesome posts on topic. This is another great post for beginners – and you should also check out the other posts on this site if you’re interested in knowing more about affiliate marketing. From Brent’s post:

More businesses now than ever rely on affiliate programs to help generate more sales/leads.  What’s great for them is that they can have hundreds or thousands of “online salespeople” referring others to their site or product.  They only pay a commission when some type of action is taken.  This action that triggers a commission might be a click of the link, a sale, or a lead. Business owners agree to pay a commission when someone takes action.

Check out DotComSecrets.com for more about affiliate marketing and make sure to follow the sites’s founder, Russell Brunson on Twitter @RussellBrunson.

3. The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Espionage by Mark Thompson on JonathanVolk.com

Ok, I’ve listed some beginner’s guides to affiliate marketing…this one is a little more advanced. Ok, a lot more advanced. But, if you’re not new to affiliate marketing, this is for you. It talks about how to promote your products, how to identify the most valuable keywords, how to rank organically when you want to sell a product, and more. From the post:

Being able to spy on your competitors and capitalize on opportunities that are backed up with research and data, can really help you to make lots of money online. There are a number of tactics and tools you can use to help you better understand opportunities, your competitors and how they are going about marketing products.

You can read more on JonathanVolk.com and follow Johnathan on Twitter @jonathanvolk. This post’s author is on Twitter @m_thompson, and runs a SEO blog called StayOnSearch.

4. Top 10 Tips For Affiliate Promotions by Michael Dunlop at Income Diary

If you’re interested in using your email list to sell affiliate products (which can be highly effective is you’ve built a strong list), this is a post you should read. Michael Dunlop is on smart cookie, and he’s broken down the process in easy-to-do steps. From the post:

Now I appreciate some of you will be thinking — I don’t have much of a list or much of a following – so how can I go about promoting a product launch.

Well of course in theory the bigger the list you have the more sales you will have – but let me make another point. Some of the most successful affiliates for the Pre-Launch of PopUp Domination actually had relatively small lists but what they had that more than made up for it was a very responsive list.

He goes on to talk about how to build that responsive list – and then, more importantly, what to do once ya got it. Read more at Income Diary and follow Michael on Twitter @michaeldunlop.

5. How I Made Over $2000 From One Blog Post by Chris Guthrie at Make Money on the Internet

Chris Guthrie first came onto my radar at BlogWorld when I momentarily met him while doing a BlogWorld interview, and I was reminded to check him out when he did a BlogcastFM interview about how he makes money online using Amazon’s affiliate program. This is just one of the extremely useful posts on his website if you’re a blogger who wants to use this type of program to make money with your website. Chris writes:

During late 2009 I published a story showing that a highly anticipated camera was finally available for purchase on Amazon.com. I knew from my own blog that it would be a hit with the readers and that I would get an uptick in orders and increased commissions. What I didn’t expect is that several large blogs would end up linking to my story and in some cases – using my Amazon affiliate link to show their readers where they could find the product!

I love a success story – especially one complete with tips on how I can replicate that success myself! Check out Make Money on the Internet for more and follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisGuthrie.

6. Lessons Learning in Using Video for Affiliates by Shawn Collins at Affiliate Tip

This post is actually a video presentation from Affiliate Summit East 2008, when Jonathan Stefansky, EVP Sales and Marketing, Qoof, talked about using video for higher conversion rates. No excerpt, since it’s a video, but I highly recommend watching it! Affiliate Summit East and Affiliate Summit West are two conferences I highly recommend if you’re considering getting involved more with affiliate marketing. You can check out more at Affiliate Tip and follow blogger Shawn Collins on Twitter @AffiliateTip.

7. Are You Practicing “Spray and Pray” Affiliate Marketing? by David Risley

David Risley is one of the smartest bloggers out there when it comes to making money online, and this post is a good analysis of why some affiliate marketing programs aren’t as successful as others. Writes David,

Typically, a blogger will simply post something about an affiliate product and maybe email it to their list. If they have a good relationship with their audience and the product is truly relevant, then this can work (and often does).However, this could be called the “spray and pray” approach. In other words, you just spray the message out there and see who bites. It isn’t really targeted beyond the fact that it is relevant. It doesn’t take into account that a pretty huge portion of your audience isn’t really in the mood to buy anything. Plus, it depends on you HAVING a decent-size audience already.

If you’ve been frustrated with your lack of affiliate sales, this article could give you some insight as to what you’re doing wrong. Check out DavidRisley.com for more make money online tips and check him out on Twitter @DavidRisley.

8. Should You Feel Guilty Pushing Slightly Shady Affiliate Offers? by Zac Johnson

The final post I wanted to feature today is from Zac Johnson, and it’s a discussion of shady affiliate programs. Should you promote something even if its a questionable product or service? What if you don’t use it yourself? What if it might trick your reader (such as a trial offer that auto-renews at a much higher price every month)? What if…

Well, there are a lot of “what if” that you’re going to have to consider if you want to be an affiliate. I think Zac does a good job at sparking the debate here, and whether or not you agree with him (I certainly don’t agree with everything in this post), it’ll give you some things to consider. From the post:

One of the many decisions you will have to make as an affiliate is what type of offers you will run to make money. The good thing is you literally have a limitless supply of offers to choose from. Offers range from anything as simple as entering a sweepstakes, completing a free trial offer or even earning a commission on a purchase. On the flip side, you also have offers which bring little value to the user, but are still good money makers.

The comments on this post are pretty good, since people are weighing in with lots of different opinions, so make sure to check them out. Read more at ZacJohnson.com and follow him on Twitter @moneyreign.

BONUS: Because it’s an important topic, I wanted to include a bonus post for you all to check out. This one is from Rosalind Gardner at Net Profits Today and is called WordPress.com Free Hosting is NOT for Affiliate Marketers” – something that I think is true for anyone attempting to make money online. Rosalind is on Twitter @rosalindgardner.

If you’ve written a post about affiliate marketing, please share it with a comment below. The more people who share, the more valuable this 12 Days of Blogging series for everyone! Don’t forget to hit the retweet and like buttons!

Check out the rest of the 12 Days of Blogging:

12 Writers Writing
11 Tweeters Tweeting
10 Guests a-Posting
9 SEOers Optimizing
8 Affiliates Selling
7 Facebook Users Updating
6 Launchers Launching
5 Golden Rules
4 Podcasting Hosts
3 Ebook Tips
2 Ethics Debates
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (ebook coming soon!)

How to Start Making Money from Ads on your Blog


… by Scott Fox, ClickMillionaires.com

How to Start Making Money from Ads on your Blog

By Scott Fox, ClickMillionaires.com

Don’t make the mistake of starting a new website expecting the “big boys” of Fortune 500 company advertisers to show up and advertise. As discussed in my previous post, “Why Big Advertisers Avoid Your Blog… (The Ugly Truth)”, you need to earn their attention by building an audience and traffic appropriate to their brands first.

How to Start Making Money from Ads on a New Blog
If you want to start making money today, here are 4 levels of online advertising you can use even if your blog’s traffic is small or you have just launched a new niche web site:

1. Advertising Network Ads: Your site can start attracting ad dollars today by installing ad code from services like Google’s Adwords or Adbrite. These networks are free to join and will be happy to populate your site with advertising from relevant advertisers immediately.

2. Affiliate Advertising: The next level is to promote products for others in exchange for a sales commission. If you can find products/services that match the needs of your audience, this can be profitable. It is also a revenue strategy that you can start immediately.

Visit Amazon.com, CJ.com, Linkshare.com, Shareasale.com, or find individual companies that offer affiliate programs for products that your audience would like. This can also be a good way to get pro-level “big name” advertisers’ ads on your site because many major companies offer affiliate programs today online.

(TIP: Be sure to disclose your affiliation with these products/companies so that you don’t run afoul of FTC advertising guidelines for bloggers.)

3. Directly Negotiated Ads: If you can find products that are a “perfect” match for your audience, you may be able to recruit your first advertisers even when your blog’s audience is small.

Photo editing software for a digital photography blog or ebooks on weight loss for your weight loss blog are good examples.

A favorite ad target of mine is to look for industry-specific conferences. If your audience is from a particular industry, conference organizers are likely to want to advertise even if your audience is small because it is so targeted.

4. Your Own Products: The most profitable advertising is often for your own products. As a new blogger, you may not have your own products yet. But when you are ready, using your own ad space to promote your own products can be highly profitable. (Plus, there’s no negotiation required!).

5. Fortune 500 Ads: As discussed in my previous post, it’s tough to get major brand-name advertisers to buy advertising on a small website or new blog. But if you work your way through the four levels of advertising above, you can grow your audience and revenues together to reach the point where even the “big boys” are likely to direct their media buying agencies to advertise with you.

All of these advertising sales strategies can help you create a revenue model for a new blog early in its development. As your audience grows, you can work your way through these four levels of advertising strategies. They will help you make money at each step, and eventually
position you for level 5, which is the placement of ads from Fortune 500 corporations with the truly big advertising budgets we all dream about.

What questions or suggestions do you have about this approach?
Which ad strategies have you found most profitable for new blogs?

Scott Fox is the host of the online marketing success coaching community ClickMillionaires.com. He is a serial startup executive, podcaster, and author whose e-business strategy coaching helps solopreneurs, small business owners, and corporations make more money online. He is the best-selling author of two books: Internet Riches and e-Riches 2.0: Next Generation Online Marketing Strategies. Visit http://www.ScottFox.com for free email newsletters and http://www.ClickMillionaires.com for a free trial of his personalized coaching community.

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